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Say Hello To The New Baleno and Colorado.

Suzuki Australia has announced that the Baleno has been given an update and will be available in Australia late this year. The new look Baleno GL will be here from August and the Baleno GLX variant available for purchase from September 2019. Pricing will remain incredibly sharp, with the Baleno GL and with a manual transmission starting at $15,990, the auto just $1,000 more, and the auto only GLX at $18,990.

Key changes to the exterior design include a newly designed front grille, revised front and rear bumpers, whilst the 15” steel wheel hub cap and the 16” alloy wheel have received an updated look.
The updated Baleno GLX will also feature UV protection glass on the windscreen, upgraded headlight projectors from HID to LED, plus automatic headlight leveling. Metallic paint is a $500 option, and the colour range is: Fire Red, Arctic White, Granite Gray Metallic, Stargraze Blue Metallic, and Premium Silver Metallic. Interior changes are limited to a revised door trim colour plus all-new seat fabric design and colour. All engine configuration and specifications remain unchanged as per the current model.

Suzuki Australia General Manager – Automobile, Mr. Michael Pachota said the introduction of the updated Baleno will be key for Suzuki’s growth in the light car segment. “A welcome improvement has been introduced in the Series II with a sleek but aggressive sporty aesthetic, amongst other additions. The new look design successfully freshens up the Baleno and remains perfectly fit in our Suzuki model line-up for the Australian automotive market.”

He added: “Impressively, even with these improvements, current pricing is sustained and with the recent introduction of a 1.4 litre engine in the GLX variant, bringing the entire range below $18,900 RRP, will no doubt further increase our opportunity in the light car segment.”

The new look Baleno comes with Suzuki’s 5 year Capped Price Service (CPS) warranty program.

Holden have also updated one of their staples in the stable. The Colorado has a new addition and some extra features added as standard. The model designated as LSX is now the entry level to the Colorado family. Sitting at the top of the tree is the Z71 and this now hasrugged fender flares and a bash plate now standard on the flagship model. A convenient new ‘soft drop’ tailgate is also exclusive to the range topping Z71, while the mid-range LTZ 4×4 gains leather trimmed seats with the front ones now heated. The Z71 and LTZ now also receive a Duraguard spray on tub liner as standard.
“The addition of the DuraGuard tub-liner means that MY20 Z71 and LTZ Colorado are the only pick-ups that retail for under $70,000 to feature this premium technology as standard equipment,” Andre Scott, the general manager of light commercial vehicle marketing at Holden, said. Careful research has also produced factory backed accessory packs, with Mr Scott adding: “Take the Tradie pack for example. It includes a towing package, side and rear steps, a roof tray, 12V auxiliary power, floor mats, canvas seat covers, weather shields, bonnet protector and cup holders – it’s enough to make sure any jobsite is done and dusted.”
Contact Holden for availabiliy details.

Mercedes Adds The GLB To The Range.

In a possible answer to a question that no one has asked, being “just how many SUVs does the world need?”, Mercedes-Benz has introduced the seven seater GLB. It slots into a gap moreso in the alphabet than in its range by being placed between the GLA and GLC.

Mercedes say it’s the first of their compact SUV range to be offered as a seven seater. However they’re also at pains to point out that the third row should NOT be occupied by anyone over the height of 1.68m. That’s logical as virtually every seven style vehicle simply doesn’t suit taller people.Power will comes from a pair of four cylinder petrol engines or a trio of diesels. A 1.33L petrol with 120kW/250Nm can be specified alongside a 2.0L with 165kW/350Nm. Economy is quoted as 6.2L/100km to 7.4L/100km, and emissions are rated as 142/169 grams per kilometre. Transmissions are a seven or eight speed auto. The pair will see 0-100 kmh times of 9.1 seconds and 6.9 seconds respectively.

The diesels are 2.0L in capacity, will offer 110kW in two versions, and 140kW in the other. Torque figures will be 320Nm or 400Nm in the higher output engine. Consumption is said to be 5.5L/100km. All three will power down through an eight speed auto and 0-100 times will be 9.0, 9.3, and 7.6 seconds respectively.

GLB will bring some cool tech. The driving assistance systems will, thanks to improved camera and radar systems, look up to 500 m ahead and can drive partially autonomously in certain situations. These could include, for example, conveniently adapting the speed before corners, crossroads or roundabouts using the Active Distance Assist Distronic with recourse to maps and navigation data. As a new function of the Active Steering Assist, among other things, there is also the intuitive Active Lane Change Assist.

There is the Energizing comfort control system. It networks various comfort systems in the vehicle, and uses musical and lighting moods plus a number of massage settings for a wide range of feel-good programs. The Energizing Coach recommends these programs according to the situation. Then if a driver or passenger is wearing a Mercedes-Benz vivoactive 3 smartwatch or another compatible Garmin wearable is linked, personal values such as stress level or sleep quality may improve the precision of the recommendation.The intuitively operated infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is also here. There’s a powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, and the ability to personalise graphics. There is also an all-colour head-up display, navigation with augmented reality, learning-capable software, and the voice control which can be activated with “Hey Mercedes”.

The LED High Performance headlamps and Multibeam LED headlamps are available for the GLB on request. The latter allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation. As an option there are also front fog lamps with LED technology. They distribute the light more widely than the main headlamps and thus illuminate peripheral areas better. Their low position in the front bumper helps reduce the risk of dazzling.

4MATIC models include the Off-Road Engineering Package. In combination with Multibeam LED headlamps these models offer a special off-road light function. This makes it easier to see obstacles in rough terrain in the dark. With the off-road light the cornering light on the Multibeam LED headlamps is continuously switched on up to a speed of 50 km/h. This results in wide and bright light distribution immediately in front of the vehicle, allowing the driver to more appropriately judge their progress.Contact your local M-B dealer for more details.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 SsangYong Tivoli ELX

This Car Review Is About: SsangYong’s Tivoli. SsangYong is the quiet third of a three tier car making setup from Korea. Nestled well below Hyundai and Kia, SsangYong currently have a three model range, and the Tivoli is the entry level to the brand. The Tivoli itself is based on the Kia Soul and is badged as EX, ELX, and Ultimate.
The ELX is a solid mid-level competitor in a very crowded market. Being based on the quirky looking Soul isn’t a bad thing either. SsangYong’s designers have done a good job of hiding the relationship with a heavily reworked interior and exterior. There’s no hiding that steeply raked windscreen though.Power Comes From: Behind the bluff and upright schnozz that hides a diesel or petrol powerplant. Our test car had the 1.6L diesel, a slightly chattery but butter smooth item. There’s a huge 300Nm of torque on tap between 1,500rpm and 2,500rpm. Peak power is just 85kW and is available from 3,400rpm to 4,000rpm. The diesel comes in 2WD or AWD for the Ultimate, and is a six speed auto only for the oiler. Economy is, unsurprisingly, pretty good for the pert little five door. Urban driving is quoted as 7.4L/100km for the 2WD version. We saw a best of 7.6L/100km in the urban cycle. Combined is 5.5L/100km and that’s without the realms of possibility. Tank size compromises range though, at just 47-L.What’s It Cost?: The range starts at a miserly $22,990 driveaway for the EX, without premium paint. It’s $27,990 driveaway for the ELX diesel auto, with premium paint an extra $495. Outside one can choose six colours, the test car was Space Black. Inside there are three choices with black overall, brown (mocha coffee shade), and beige. The trim is on the seats and the doors.

What Does It Look Like?: Overall, the presence is restrained from the outside, innocuous even. The front end is very SsangYong family in look, with LED eyebrow driving lights in a swept back cluster design. The lower air intake surround is a horizontal “double Y” with black urethane underneath joining the front and rear. The tail end itself is a look that evokes the MINI Countryman’s styling and a bold C pillar joins the top to the bottom.It’s compact in size to look at. Length is 4,202mm, height is 1,600mm with roof rails, and overall width is 1,798mm. What these numbers mean is good interior space for the 1,480kg (dry) Tivoli.
There’s some good looks inside too. The dash is the current Euro themed arch-type sweep from door top to door top and in the black-on-black it looks ok. The dash’s look is a mix of black textured plastics. There is a faux stitched look, a hood style binnacle, and piano black centre stack.This holds the aircon controls which are soft-touch buttons. An old-school amber backlit display screen sits above a dominant fan speed dial. Unlike most other manufacturers, SsangYong haven’t gone down the path of a standalone touchscreen for the audio/satnav, with the Korean make staying with an embedded look here. Again there is no DAB and that peculiar predilection to have one radio station sound like a skipping record.The driver faces a binnacle that has bright red backlit dials. These can be changed to five other backlights such as blue and yellow for that extra bit of personalisation. A monochrome centre screen shows wheel angle when parked. This is presumably to remind a driver which way they’re pointing when getting ready to move on.
Splashes of alloy look plastic add some colour to the black trimmed option. The seats are comfortable and not heated or vented in the ELX.
There’s the usual apps for the sound system, storage spaces front and rear, and a good amount of cargo space at the rear. There is a pair of 12V sockets, one up front and one for the rear.
Safety is high. AEB is standard, as are warning systems for forward collision and lane keeping. Australia doesn’t get the Euro spec traffic sign recognition system…yet.

What’s It Go Like?
It’s a hoot to punt around. There’s the barest hint of hesitation in the diesel from a standing start. The turbo very quickly spools up and there’s a rapid, smooth, but slightly noisy launch. The engine is a real old-school chatterer under load but there is no sense of vibration is any form. The gearbox is the same. It’s super quiet, super smooth, and rarely proved indecisive in its cog-swapping.

Off the throttle the engine is whisper quiet. There is a minimal amount of road and wind noise whilst coasting, and it’s again only when the go pedal gets the ask that the engine gets noticed. Mid range urge is sensational given the size of the engine. It’s relatively effortless in how it performs when compared to bigger cars with bigger engines. Ride is on the hard side however. The 205/60/16 from Kumho provide plenty of grip but that highish sidewall doesn’t do much in the way of aiding the suspension’s absorption. The spring and damper rates are almost adequate for smaller bumps but hit a traffic calmer at anything other than walking pace and it’s kapow.The rear corners will even “cock a leg” when in tight turns or at odd angles coming in and off some driveways. The upside is how it goes on the freeways. Undulating surfaces don’t exist, stability is high in windy conditions, and the steering, adjustable via a drive mode button, is well weighted. It’s responsive and ratioed so understeer is also kept to a minimum. As a driving package it’s far better than expected.
Warranty Is? Seven years. That’s also with unlimited kilometres, from front to rear. Srvices are 12 months or 15,000 kilometres.At The End Of the Drive: It’s a real shame that this quiet achiever is due to be discontinued. Although the forthcoming Korando promises to be just as good, the Tivoli could be kept as an alternative addition, much like many Euro makers seem to offer nowadays. And it’s at a price and trim point that would be a good alternative to quite a few others. And the Tivoli has just had an addition to the range in the form of the long wheelbase XLV.

Here is how you can find out more.

Tesla Model 3 Pricing Confirmed For Australia.

Tesla Australia has confirmed the range and pricing structure for the forthcoming Model 3.Built upon a two model range to start, the Standard Plus and Performance, the new entry level range for the electric car makers starts at $66,000 plus on-road costs and government charges. Expected 0-100 time is 5.6 seconds, and expected range from the supercharger capable Model 3 Standard Plus is 460 km. The Performance is listed as $85,000 plus charges. 0 100 is 3.4 seconds and a range of 560km. 20 inch wheels roll around red alloy calipers, with a subtle carbon fibre spoiler providing extra stability when driving in Track Mode.Five colours will be made available for the expected August launch timeframe; Solid Black, Midnight Silver Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic, Pearl White and Metallic Red multicoats. The metallics are $1,400 and the multicoats $2,100 and $2,800 respectively.

The Model 3 will also receive the over-the-air software updates. A major update is the Autopilot facility, which enables the Model 3 to effectively drive itself albeit still under active human supervision. It enables the Model 3 to to steer, accelerate and brake for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. The Standard Plus also gets a 12-way 12-way power adjustable, heated, front pair of seats, with premium seat material and trim, an upgraded audio system, plus standard maps & navigation. There is also centre console with storage, 4 USB ports, and docking for 2 smartphones. Entry is via the Tesla keyfob or a new smartcard system.LED fog lamps, Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning and Side Collision Warning will be standard. Buyers of the Model 3 Performance will receive what Tesla denote as the Premium Interior Package. Live traffic notifications with satnav maps, a 14 speaker audio system with music streaming, heated rear seats complement the standard equipment in the Standard Plus. Both cars will allow for customisable driver profiles, and everything is set up from a spare looking dashboard, dominated by a solitary touchscreen in landscape orientation.An extra feature to be released later in the year is traffic light and stop sign recognition. This will enable the Model 3 to further enhance its autonomous driving ability, and it’s forecast that the Model 3 will be able to do so in a full city environment. The Autopilot feature is also intended to allow autonomous driving in situations such as vehicle overtaking and on/off-ramp driving.

The exterior design is one familiar to anyone with a Model S. The headlights are subtly redesigned for a more wrap-around look, the roof is a solidly tinted glass item, and the rear is a more traditional boot, rather than liftback, styling.Orders for the Tesla Model 3 are now open and available via the Tesla Australia website.

 

Car Review: 2019 Hyundai Kona Iron Man Edition.

This Car Review Is About: Hyundai’s funky little SUV called the Kona. They’ve gone a little rogue here and given the world a limited edition, 400 vehicle, “Iron Man” version, complete with body styling that evokes the Iron Man look, and a couple of nifty interior changes too. It’s powered by the 1.6L turbo engine, has a seven speed dual clutch auto, and puts drive mainly to the front but will split torque to the rear on demand.

What Does It Cost?: Hyundai list it as $39,990 plus on road costs. That’s $990 more than the Highlander with the same engine spec.And What Do I get For That?: There is some visual highlights for the Iron Man Edition. Inside there is a Tony Stark signature on the rippled plastic in front of the passenger, a Stark Industries style logo for the top of the gear selector and in the driver binnacle dials. There is a Head Up Display fitted and it plays a stylised graphic on engine start. The seats have an Iron Man head and Stark Industries logo embossed into the faux leather and the doors shine a Iron Man head puddle lamp. Outside is a bit more. There is Iron Man badging aplenty, with the front of the headlight holder having it embossed into the plastic, an Iron Man centre wheel cap, the Marvel logo on the bonnet which has also been redesigned in shape, plus the letterbox slot above the main grille has a red insert with Iron Man here. There is an Iron Man badge on the front flanks and the guards have been pumped with extra cladding.The bottom of the doors have the brilliant metallic red from the Iron Man suit with the silver inlays, and the exhaust tips in the lower rear bumper have a similar motif. the tail lights are full LED and the rear gate has Iron Man on the grab handle. The LED driving lights have a similar look to aspects of the Iron Man suit and the roof, also in red, has a dark grey Iron Man logo which complements the dark grey semi-matte coating for the body and the Stark Industries logo on the rear doors.On the Inside Is: a mix of Highlander trim and lower trim level looks. Although the seats are perforated they are not vented nor heated. The centre console around the gear selector lacks the buttons found in the Highlander and has red piping highlights. It does carry over the drive mode for Sport/Eco/Comfort, and has a lock system for the AWD. The vents have red piping highlights also and the actual aircon controls are the same as Highlander’s. There are the usual audio and smartphone connections via the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay apps and USB, but the Highlander’s wireless charge pad is deleted. The driver’s seat is powered and there is memory seating. As mentioned before there is a HUD. Internal measurements are identical to the rest of the range.

Where Hyundai could have lifted the interior look is on the dash. The plastics could have been replaced by a higher tech look, perhaps a silver sheen material reflecting that found outside and on the Iron Man suit itself.

On the Outside Is: As also mentioned, some distinctive changes to the body work. Hankook supplies the 235/45 tyres on the multispoke alloys that have red plates attached. The LED driving lights are subtly restyled from the Kona range and the view from the front also shows the lower air intake is different to the rest in the range. The colour scheme is distinctive, of course, and the paint is the type that is best wiped down and certainly not suitable for polishing.

On the Road It’s: Happily far better to drive than the 2.0L with six speed auto. It’s a 1.6L turbo four that’s essentially the same as that found in the firecracker Kia Cerato GT. There is 130kW of peak power, and that’s at 5,500rpm. Peak torque of 265Nm is available between 1,500rpm and 4,500rpm. The seven speed dual clutch auto is mostly a delight to have along with the 1.6L turbo. It lights up from the press of the go pedal at standstill, is super responsive from 2000rpm onwards, and can be as economical as 5.5L per 100km on the freeway.

We finished on an overall average of 7.1L/100km in a mainly urban drive cycle. That’s decent as Hyundai quote 8.0L/100km for the urban drive, 6.0L/100km for the highway, and an overall combined figure of 6.7L/100km. Dry weight is 1,507kg at its heaviest, with a gross vehicle curb weight of just under 1,950kg. The DCT’s glitch is standard for just about any gearbox of its type. Select Reverse, and it engages, roll out to a stop and select Drive.

It’s here that indecision strikes and there’s that pause between engaging and forward motion. It also strikes when coming to a give way sign, and it disengages, waits….and waits….and waits, before the clutches bite. Otherwise it’s super smooth, slick, and rarely did anything other than delight.

 

The AWD system is biased towards the front wheels and one of the driver’s screen display options is showing how much torque is split to the rear. In the Iron Man Edition it’s coloured blue, lights up a set of six or seven bars when in front wheel drive. Plant the hoof and there are four or five bars for the rear wheel wheels that really only show a couple on tarmac drive conditions. When Sport mode is selected it’s more a matter of longer gear holding and slightly crisper changes.

Steering feel is light but not to the point of losing touch with the front. There is quite a bit of communication and the ratio feels tight, possibly thanks to the AWD system providing more bite. Directional changes are rapid, composed, and the suspension is almost spot on. The front end “crashed” over a couple of speed bumps but it’s otherwise urban suitable. The brakes are a delight, too, with instant feedback and one of the best progressive feedback stories available. A driver can precisely judge just how much pressure is required at any point on its travel from top to the end. Disc sizes are up from the 2.0L Kona, at 305mm and 284mm.What About Safety?: Well there is no problem here. It’s standard Hyundai in that there is little, if anything, missing from the SafetySense package. The mandated systems such as ABS etc are here but it’s the extras that are also becoming more and more common as standard that Hyundai fits. Forward Collision Warning with cyclist and pedestrian detection, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard here, along with four sensors for parking front and rear. There are six airbags, with the driver’s kneebag seen in other brands not seen here. Tyre pressure monitoring, pre-tensioning seatbelts, ISOFIX child seat mounts, and emergency flashing brake lights are also standard.And Warranty and Service?: Standard five years/unlimited kilometres with Hyundai’s Lifetime service plan including free first service at 1,500 kilometres, roadside assistance, and satnav upgrade plan as well.

At the End Of the Drive.
Bodywork and interior trim changes aside, the 1.6L turbo, DCT, and all wheel drive system mark the Kona Iron Man Edition as as much fun as any other Kona with the same engine. What makes the Iron Man Edition stand out is the distinctive body colour, the body mouldings, and the badging. Primary and high school runs get fingers pointing, with one high school lad coming over to the car, running his fingers over the front quarter badge and declaring: “man, that is the shit, this is so cool!” Passengers in other cars on the road would nudge the driver and point, and there was always a smile to be seen.

Absolutely it could also be seen as a somewhat cynical marketing exercise but it shows that one car company hasn’t completely lost something society needs more of: a sense of humour. Here is where you’ll find out more.

Car Review: 2019 Hyundai Kona Highlander & 2019 Hyundai Tucson Elite.Private Fleet

This Car Review Is About: A pair of SUVs from Korean goliath, Hyundai. It’s great to have to Hyundai back in the garage, and the two cars reviewed, Kona and Tucson, show the direction of one section of the car market. The Kona was the highest trim level, the Highlander, with the Tucson a mid level trim, the Elite. Kona comes in four trim levels with the conventional, non-electric, powertrain. There is Kona Go, Kona Active, Kona Elite, and Kona Highlander. There is also the limited edition “Iron Man” version. Tucson is Go, Active X, Elite, Special Edition, and Highlander.

Under The Bonnet Is: A choice of turbo or non-turbo engine. The Highlander spec Kona came with the Atkinson cycle 2.0L that drives the front wheels, the turbo is AWD. 110kW and 180Nm are the peak power and torque outputs, at 6,200rpm and 4,500rpm. The Elite came with the same capacity engine and front driven wheels, but slightly uprated in regards to power and torque, at 122kW and 205Nm, which are available at 6,200rpm and 4,000rpm. Tucson also has the 1.6L/AWD, and adds AWD to a 2.0L diesel.Both cars run E10 compatible fuel systems and are EURO 5 compliant. Transmission for the 2WD Kona is a six speed auto, as is the Tucson. The Elite Tucson is available with the diesel and 1.6L petrol, which gain an eight speed auto and seven speed dual clutch auto respectively.Consumption for the Kona is rated as 7.2L/100km for the combined, 9.7L/100km for the city, and just 5.8L/100km on the highway cycle. In 2.0L and 6 speed auto trim, the Tucson has 7.9L/100km combined, 11.0L/100km in the city cycle, and a reasonable 6.1L/100km for the highway. Weights are 1,290kg (dry) to 1,383kg for the Kona, with Tucson ranging from 1,490kg (dry) to 1,590kg.

On The Inside Is: A really funky interior for the Kona Highlander, a restrained and functional interior for the Tucson. Highlander spec for the Kona sees the body colour added to the piping on the seats, colour coordinated seatbelts, the air-vent surrounds, and gear selector surround. As the test car came in a colour called Lime Twist it makes for a very eye-catching look.The Tucson Elite review car had mocha coloured seats and an otherwise standard looking interior. There are notable similarities between the two in respect to the layout of the dash, and a couple of of differences. The Tucson, for example, has two separate buttons for fresh and recirculating, whereas the Kona uses one. The Kona also goes for a Head Up Display, accompanied by a slight buzz as it rises monolithically out of the top of the driver’s binnacle. The actual dash designs are different; the Kona is at odds with the sharp and edgy exterior design by having a flowing, organic, dash. The Tucson is a more traditional look, with a flatter profile and has air vents at either end that are reminiscent of an American classic car’s rear end.Kona Highlander has dials for both fan speed and temperature, Tucson Elite has a separate pair of tabs for fan speed, and two dials for individual front seat temperatures. Naturally the Kona offers venting and heating for the front seats but the Elite offers neither., even with perforations in the seat materials. Kona Highlander has a wireless smartphone charge pad, two USB ports up front, with Tucson Elite having a sole USB port front and rear.Headroom is identical, at 1,005mm up front, and virtually the same at 961mm for the Kona, 963mm for Tucson in the rear. Front seat legroom is lineball with Kona scoring 1,054mm for the front, Tucson 1,053mm in the front, with the shorter overall Kona losing out in the rear leg room stakes. It’s 880mm to 970mm. Shoulder room for the Kona is 1,410mm/1,385mm front and rear, whilst the Tucson has 1,450mm/1,410mm. Load up the rear and the Kona has 361L/1,143L to the Tucson’s 488L/1,478L. Both have steering wheel controls for audio, dash screen information, Bluetooth phone connection and voice activation, with both looking virtually identical. the driver’s displays are the same, and the upper centre dash for both is where the touchscreens for audio, satnav, and more are found. There are minimal design differences between the two, and both have screens that are a delight to use in their looks, simplicity of usage, and layout. Both have the almost mandatory apps including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and DAB audio.

On The Outside It’s: Revolution and evolution. The Kona is one of the new breed of small SUVs that are supplementing the medium and large SUV segments. The marketing for the Kona is aimed at the younger demographic and the design of the Kona itself is of an appeal to the same. Kona eschews the traditional front end design of upper mounted headlights and replaces them with LED daytime running lights. the headlights themselves are mid mounted, with the lower centre air intake featuring conventionally powered lights, with cornering lamps also up front. The rear has LEDs in the Highlander, with separate clusters for the reverse and indicators. Tucson is in its second generation and has been given a refinement front and rear. The LED DRL strips are now set as “eyebrows” to the headlights, rather than being located in the lower front quarters. The grille and headlights are reprofiled, there are new wheel designs, and the rear has been subtly reprofiled from the originals slightly bulbous shape, and the horizontal line in the lower third of the rear door has been deleted. Both have the durable black polyurethane body mouldings for soft-roading protection and visual appeal.

Rubber for the Highlander is 235/45 on 18 inch alloys, with the tyres from Hankook. The Tucson is slightly smaller in width at 225/55/18, with Kumho the supplier here.

On The Road It’s: A bit chalk and cheese. Although the Highlander is no heavyweight, the high rev point for the peak torque means off-the-line mojo isn’t great with the 2.0L non-turbo. Patience is required and any move from a stop sign before going into oncoming traffic needs to be well judged. Rolling acceleration isn’t fantastic but it’s nice enough and builds in a linear fashion.

The Tucson Elite is more spritely, more responsive from the start. Although it was the non-turbo engine, the performance was definitely more engaging and sparkling. Peak torque is higher in numbers and lower in the rev range, so the cogs can deliver the torque more efficiently, it seems.

Both exhibit well mannered on-road credentials. The Highlander is harder in the suspension, with a notably tighter ride across all tarmac surfaces. Steering initially felt like twisting a thick rubber rope, the Tucson lighter and easier to deal with daily. The Kona eventually felt as much of an extension as the Tucson. Braking in both was balanced, progressive, and although not instant in response from a press of the pedal, could be judged perfectly as the pedal went down.

The Tucson had an opportunity to show off its soft-road ability with a long drive in a national park and on gravel roads. Up front, the ABS calibration definitely errs towards a tarmac bias. Some of the roads are just wide enough to allow two vehicles to pass at low speed safely, and occasionally the Tucson’s stopping ability into a certain section was called upon. There was no lack of control, the car went straight ahead, and once or twice the pressure was such to engage the emergency flashers.

On the rutted surfaces the suspension was tuned well enough that body control was solid. There was little noise intrusion, and the suspension transmitted little of the jiggles through. The front end felt connected to the front and even when provoked somehow managed to keep understeer to a minimum.

The Safety Systems Are: Quite solid in both. The Hyundai SafetySense package in the Kona Highlander is shared with Kona Elite, and included Forward Collision Alert with Pedestrian and Car avoidance, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lanbe Keep Assist, and six airbags. In Tucson trim, the Elite gets these but they’re an option below. The Lane Keep Assist is perhaps a bit aggressive, with a non-subtle tugging of the wheel in the driver’s hands as it works to centralise the cars in a lane. And The Warranty Is: Five years/unlimited kilometres is the current Hyundai package. 12 months worth of roadside assistance is included at purchase, the first service is free. Hyundai also offer a Lifetime Service Plan, and your local Hyundai dealer can explain how that works in more detail. There is also the Hyundai AutoLink app, and it looks pretty cool to play with. It’s a multi-function monitor system that transfers info from the car to a smartphone, allowing tyre pressure checks, fuel and battery status, even driving time.

At The End Of The Drive. The growth of the SUV market seems almost unstoppable. Here, a major world player offers a small and medium sized option, with the Santa Fe at the top of the tree. The Kona and its marketing seem to be ideal for a clientele in the 20-30 year old demographic, and potentially a sing;e or couple with no children. The Tucson goes towards the mid 20s and upwards, and with one child at least.

Neither are horrible to live with and certainly the Kona became easier to understand in how to drive it as the week progressed. the Tucson, in comparison, was like strapping on a familiar set of boots, partly because I was involved in the original model’s launch program. The fact that the room up front is identical and really not that much different for the rear seat speaks volumes for the overall design and packaging of the Kona.

On a tech level the Kona Highlander has the HUD to offer, and for those that don’t wish to use it there is a switch that lowers the screen. Dynamically the Tucson comes out as the winner, but a trim-for-trim comparison would provide a more apt comparison. In either respect, Hyundai kicks goals as a car brand to aspire to, and the “N” series of i30 is certainly highly regarded.
2019 Hyundai Tucson range and 2019 Hyundai Kona range info is available in more detail via these two links.

Eight Is Still Not Enough For BMW

BMW has released details of the forcthcoming 8 Series coupe and convertible as the brand continues to renew its extensive range. The 8 Series features the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe with an Australian price of $272,900, and the BMW M850i xDrive Convertible, priced at $281,900. Prices include LCT but not on-road charges.
Power comes from a 4.4L twin turbo V8. 390 is the number of kilowatts, and they’re found between 5,500rpm and 6,000rpm. But it’s the impressive 750Nm of torque that tells a better story. Maximum twist is available from 1,800rpm and goes all the way through to 4,600rpm. This will launch the 850i Coupe to 100kmh in 3.7 seconds, with the slightly heavier Convertible just 0.2seconds slower. The torque comes from the inside-vee location of the twin-scroll turbos, with that location providing a better, quicker, response time. Aiding the beast up front is an eight speed auto with ratios well spaced to take advantage of the liners power and torque delivery. Matched to a manual change option of paddle shifts, BMW fits their brilliant “ConnectedShift” system which reads the road ahead and pre-empts a driver’s change of gears and adjusts the transmission automatically to suit the oncoming road.
A very tech-laden feature in the 8 series is the BMW Live Cockpit Professional. It’s a hi-res and customisable 12.3-inch instrument cluster that sits behind the steering wheel, with a 10.25-inch Control Display mounted in the centre of the vehicle.

Additional BMW Live Cockpit Professional features include adaptive navigation, a 20gb hard drive, two USB ports for type A and type C connections, Bluetooth and wireless charging. A Head Up Display is included and at 16 per cent larger than before, provides the driver with valuable feedback, enhancing safety and the driving experience.
This configurable system includes details of vehicle speed, Speed Limit Info, Check Control messages, detailed route guidance information, driving assistance information, and infotainment lists. Shifting the Drive Experience Control switch to SPORT or SPORT+ brings additional information, with engine revolutions and a shift indicator displayed.
The BMW Operating System 7.0 connects the driver’s displays with the infotainment system, enabling the overlay of information from the Control Display onto the instrument cluster.

A new feature, and one sure to make its way through to other marques, is the Digital Key. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology allows the new BMW 8 Series to be locked and unlocked from a smartphone. The smartphone simply has to be held up to the door handle to open the vehicle and, once inside, the engine can be started as soon as the phone has been placed in the Wireless Charging tray. Available via the BMW Connected App, the Digital Key also offers plenty of human flexibility, as the driver can share it with up to five other people.

Carbon fibre plays a bigger role than before in the chassis.Called “BMW Carbon Core centre transmission tunnel”, it reduces weight and adds rigidity, allowing optimised suspension geometry and improving both ride and handling characteristics. Front suspension is a double wishbone setup, and it’s specifically designed to separate the steering function from the damping force.and a five-link rear uses bi-elastic mountings and houses a load-bearing rear strut to further enhance rigidity and response.
Should one choose the soft top, the BMW 8 Series Convertible roof operates automatically via the touch of a button. It completes the opening or closing motion in only 15 seconds and can be activated at speeds of up to 50km/h.

Check with your BMW dealer for more details.
(Information courtesy of BMW Australia.)

2020 RAV4 Ready To Roar.

If you’re not a fan of SUV style vehicles, best you stop and look away now. The Toyota RAV4, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is widely regarded as the original SUV. 2019 has the release of a vastly updated car and range to continue the legend.

The range will include, for the RAV4’s first time, a hybrid. There will be two petrol engines, four trim levels, and 2WD or AWD variants.
The Gx range is the entry level, with GXL, Cruiser, and a solitary, and new Edge trim spec.. Here’s how the pricing structure shakes down.

GX Petrol 2WD manual: $30,640, GX Petrol 2WD CVT $32,640, GX Hybrid 2WD CVT $35,140, GX Hybrid AWD CVT $38,140;
GXL Petrol 2WD CVT $35,640, GXL Hybrid 2WD CVT $38,140, GXL Hybrid AWD CVT $41,140;
Cruiser Petrol 2WD CVT $39,140, Cruiser Hybrid 2WD CVT $41,640, Cruiser Hybrid AWD CVT $44,640 &
Edge Petrol AWD Auto $47,140The base petrol engine is a new 127kW/203Nm 2.0-litre, direct injection, four-cylinder engine that drives through Toyota’s now well-proven continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a launch gear mechanism. The GX also gets a manual with a rev-matching program. The hybrid goes a step further, with a 2.5L Atkinson Cycle powerplant. Peak oomph depends on the driven wheels. There are combined maximum outputs of 160kW for 2WD variants and 163kW for AWD versions. This also continues Toyota’s fuel efficiency drive, with just 4.7 litres/100km2 for 2WD variants and 4.8 litres/100km2 for AWD versions.There is also a nifty rear axle mounted drive system. Toyota fits an additional rear motor generator to provide power to the rear axle for the electric AWD system. Complete with a Trail mode, it enables up to 80 per cent of the total drive torque to be delivered through the rear wheels.

A new model reaches the RAV4 family. The Edge trim level also has a 2.5L petrol four, and there’s 152kW of peak power, with 243Nm of peak torque available, reaching the ground via an eight speed auto. A mechanical AWD system can split torque at up to 50:50 front to rear from a 100% front driven only delivery. The Edge trim level will also feature off-rad drive modes, being Mud and Sand, Rock and Dirt, and Snow.RAV4 has also been given an extensive makeover outside, with a stronger resemblance to the HiLux family. The exterior redesign brings a sharper look, a bolder look by moving away from the curvier outgoing model, and 17-inch,18-inch and 19-inch alloy wheels which add a visually solid and planted presence on the road. The GX starts the party with LED headlights, auto wipers, and dual exhaust pipes. Inside there’s a 4.2 inch driver’s display, 8.0 inch touchscreen with DAB audio and voice recognition, higher grade trim feel and quality than before, and improved safety features including AEB as standard.The GXL has 18 inch alloys, up from the 17s on GX, and adds privacy glass for the rear windows. A rear camera with guidance lines is added. Wireless charging up front and rear airvents get a nod as well, plus there’s five USB ports, with three for the front seat passengers. The Cruiser trim level goes to 19 inch wheels, heated front seats and a powered driver’s seat. The driver’s display gets bumped up to a 7.0 inch screen. The Edge gets more cosmetics, venting for the front seats, and a leather look material for the pews.Underpinning the slightly shorter (5mm), lower (30mm), and wider (10mm) body is the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that features a 30mm longer wheelbase and wider track, that has been extended by between 25mm and 55mm. This, together with a revised front MacPherson strut and new multi-link rear suspension, gives the new RAV4 substantially improved driving dynamics, superb ride comfort, and improved handling.Safety is raised, as expected. Seven airbags including driver’s kneebag, with the Toyota Safety Sense package including AEB with pedestrian detection for day and night conditions, and daytime cyclist detection, active cruise control for the autos, lane trace assist and lane centreing, plus lane departure alert with lane keep assist.

Check with your local Toyota dealership for availability and to book a test drive.

Car Review: 2019 SsangYong Musso Ultimate.

This Car Review Is About:
SsangYong continuing their Australian (and world wide) rebirth with the Musso. A four door ute, based on the Rexton SUV, the Musso is a two or four wheel drive machine. It’s reasonably well priced and reasonably well configured in the 4×4 Ultimate spec as tested at $39,990 driveaway. The range itself starts at $30,490 for the EX manual, $32,490 for the auto EX, and $35,990 for the ELX spec in auto.

Under The Bonnet Is:
A well mannered 2.2L diesel, and the aforementioned six speed auto. Peak torque is 400Nm and available from 1400rpm through to 2800rpm. Peak power is 133kW at a high for a diesel 4000rpm. Urban driving sees consumption hovering between 10.0 and 11.0 litres per 100km, and AWT finished on 10.7L/100km in a purely urban drive. Although the tank is 75-L, and dry weight is around 2060kg, that’s a hefty drink and needs work.Unlike the Rexton tested recently the Musso breathes better from a standing start, lacking the lag so woefully found in the Rexton. As a result the drive factor is immediately better, safer, more enjoyable. Transmission is a six speed auto and again, like the body and interior, pretty much what is found in the Rexton. This means mostly smooth changes, the occasional stutter depending on drive speed and throttle input, and the same on-the-fly drive modes as well, accessed via a cabin-mounted dial. It’s a package that will benefit from further development and refinement but is also pretty good straight out of the box.On The Outside It’s:
The nose and doors of the Musso before a somewhat truncated looking tray. Ostensibly it would be in competition with Ranger, HiLux, Colorado, D-Max, Triton, but also stands out as being the only ute from the three Korean car makers. The first and second sections of the Musso hint at the spaciousness outside, it’s the tray that “holds back” the Musso from really being in the same cargo space as the others. By no means though is it non-user friendly.

It’s fitted, in the test car, with a poly0urethane liner and also comes with tie down points. There also looks like a power point for something like a power generator. It’s certainly big enough for a pair of mountain bikes, and perhaps a couple of mini bikes. Full sized trail bikes make find it a squeeze though.Overall length is 5095mm. That puts it in the same size bracket (over five metres) as the rest but is still noticeable shorter. Although the wheelbase is huge at 3100mm, the rear wheels are closer to the cabin than the others, and the rear overhang of 1105mm is bigger than it looks in the flesh. That applies to the front overhang of 890mm, with reality making that figure look excessive.The wheels fitted to the review vehicle were 20 inch chromed alloys, with rubber of 255/50 from Nexen, Although good lookers and easy to clean, it raised the question of suitability for any dedicated off-road work. What does look good, although it does add to the look of a shortened tray, is the shroud at the forward end of the cargo space.

Headlights have LED running lights, and the front end has a design that SsangYong poetically says evokes a bird’s wings. It may do, but what it definitely is is inoffensive. Not unhandsome, and certainly a light-year away from the oddly styled model from some years ago.On The Inside Is:
A cabin that has largely dark grey to black overtones. The seats are dark grey/black leather (with the fronts heated), the dash is mostly black, the floor is black, most of the door trim is black. There is a splash of dull alloy chrome in the doors that spring from the dash-wide strip, and they house the tweeters in the non-DAB equipped, but very good sounding….sound system. It’s the same layout and look on this screen as seen in the Rexton and that’s a good thing. DAB would be nice as Hyundai has it fitted in their cars now…..There is also the same very handy 360 degree camera system too.However in this car the reverse parking sensors didn’t seem to be engaging correctly, and in the audio system one station, and one station only, seemed to be almost like a slightly dodgy CD, with a skip here and there. It wasn’t the station as confirmed by checking other audio sources simultaneously. It does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto though, as per the spec found in Rexton.

Being a worker’s aimed ute, it’s not clad in the same gorgeous, diamond quilted, black upon black leather, which in a way is a disappointment. It would have given the Musso that extra stand-out point of difference. As it is that dark grey-black colour scheme looks ok, it just lacks the class that an ostensibly top tier vehicle could have.Instrumentation is as per Rexton. Cleanly laid out it makes for less time scanning for the right button to tip. It does lack the amount of buttons for operation of ancillary items as seen in the Rexton but it doesn’t lack for style or presence either.

Front and rear leg room, plus shoulder, hip, and head room are spot on for four adults, and possibly five at a pinch. There is certainly no issue in getting two children in there.

What About Safety?
No problems here. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Alert, and Lane Change Assist are standard. Autonomous Emergency Braking, like nearly every company, isn’t here. The usual swag of driver aids such as Hill Descent Control, are here. Six airbags excluding driver’s knee are also standard.

On The Road It’s:
Mucho better in one key area than the Rexton. As stated, it’s better off the line, with a real lack of that inhale and go found in the Rexton. It’s more responsive, more willing, and it’s across the rev range too in comparison to the Rexton. It shares the same mechanical feel, the same lacking in damping steering column, which isn’t a good thing.

The Musso isn’t a lightweight but there is more spring in its step, a better sense of urgency and alacrity. Under steam, a gentle prod has the two tonne plus Musso reacting quickly, with a real sprightliness, and it makes overtaking much more safer. The whole driving experience in this area is appreciably more enjoyable, but it’s let down in return by the ride.

It’s stiff in comparison to the Rexton, which is understandable. However it’s stiff in comparison to its competition, and there’s a distinct sense of unhappiness as it hits unsettled surfaces, the road expansion joints, and it skips noticeably from these influences. Up front it’s more settled and composed, yet still more stiffly sprung than the Rexton. And that mechanical metal-on-metal steering takes some of the life out of the front end too. Brakes? Better than Rexton but still needing a good shove sometimes for a comfortable stoppage.

And The Warranty Is:
Again, it’s a good one. Seven years, unlimited kilometres, seven years roadside help, and a strong service structure. It matches Kia, its bigger Korean sibling in this respect.

At The End Of The Drive.
The 2019 spec SsangYong Musso Limited is a curious machine. It’s roomy, grunty, not unattractive, but it’s lacking in presence and some needed road manners. It’s got a good feature set but in top whack misses out on a couple of niceties and refinement as found in its competition. And although the price is good enough to appeal, the brand still suffers heavily from its previous incarnation. That, in itself, is the biggest stumbling block for SsangYong. SsangYong car range is where you can find details on the reborn SsangYong brand.

 

Sleek And Sporty: Rimac Concept 1 and Rimac Concept 2.

Rimac is one of a number of new brands that is looking towards a purely electrically powered future for cars. Rimac itself has seemingly snuck under the radar, with its most notable achievement to date being the destruction of a car at the hands of a British car show host…

Rimac Automobili is based in Croatia and was founded in 2009 by Mate Rimac. He says that his original idea was to start with the proverbial blank sheet and grow an automotive design business from what started as a hobby. The dream was to build the world’s first fully eklectric sports car, and the kicker was having a petrol powered car’s engine that Rimac was racing expire, allowing he and his team to convert it to a fully battery powered system. As many components weren’t available “off the shelf” Rimac and co had to develop the parts themselves. They now hold 24 individual patents.Concept 1 was spawned from a series of cars being converted from petrol to electric. The success of the conversions had the owners of the converted cars spread the word of the company’s work. From here, Rimac was able to realise part of his dream and drew up plans for what would become the Rimac Concept 1.

Franfurt’s 2011 car show saw the first public showing of the Concept 1, and was greeted with largely positive reviews. At a cost of around USD$980,000, just 88 would be built. Rimac Concept 1 features a quartet of electric motors, with an output of 913kW/1224hp, and 1600Nm/1180lb-ft for torque. In a lightweight body of carbon fibre, the 90 kWh motors launch the Concept 1 to 100kmh/62mph in 2.6 seconds. It’ll see the double ton in 6.2 seconds and will crack the quarter mile in 9.9 seconds.

Range for the Rimac Concept 1 has also been increased as as the team further developed the car. Original range estimates hovered around the 200 mile mark, with current best world figures now around the 310 miles distance.Owners receive the Rimac All Wheel Torque Vectoring System, which distributes torque between all four paws on demand and depending on driver’s setup choices. The interior is bespoke leather and handmade trim.

The Rimac Concept 2 takes the original and expands and improves upon it in almost every area, including price. With expected first deliveries schedule for 2020 as the car undergoes testing and homologation, the current expected hit to the wallet is just under Eu1.8,000,000 or a tick over USD$2,000,000.

Rimac has really “upped the ante” for the Concept 2. Top speed? 415kmh/258mph. Power? 1408kW/1888hp. 100kmh/62mph time? 1.85 seconds. Range? 647km/402 miles. It’s been touted as being able to twice lap the fabled Nurburgring twice with no drop in overall performance. And charge time is said to be up to 80% in around a half hour.Autonomous driving is on board and is at a Level 4 standard. Eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, lidar, and six radar sensors will go a long way to ensuring Level 4 driving for the owner. Extra smart tech comes in the form of facial recognition to unlock the butterfly wing doors that form an integral part of the super slippery body. Built of carbon fibre also, the chassis and body house the battery pack, mounted low for better weight distribution, centre of gravity, and handling. Weight is estimated though to still be around 1930kg/4300lb. There’s nary a hard edge to be seen on the Rimac Concept 2’s body, with sleek lines, plenty of aero influences, and a huge rear wing, necessary if Sir is to travel at 200mph.

The drive system is similar to the Concept 1, with full torque vectoring, and the ability to switch between front wheel, rear wheel, all wheel drive modes on the fly. The driver’s display screen can overlay driving lines to show an almost arcade game like look if the system senses that the car is being driven in the appropriate environment.

Just 150 examples are to be made and it’s said that all examples have been pre-sold.